Westminster’s Place In British African History Continues Nov. 25

The African Coalition Day Preview on Nov. 25 2023 follows a line of auspicious African-centred events that's been held in Westminster over the decades.

Addai Sebo with AJY Declaration

This year’s Black History Month, also known as African History Month, may have recently ended. However, for some, it continues for a few more months as African History Season.

It is within this context that The African Coalition Day Preview event takes place on Saturday November 25 2023 at The Abbey Centre in the heart of Westminster.

The event is for African individuals and organisations, and businesses and services targeted at the African community in London, to meet under one roof.

In addition to promoting African history, health and wellness, the event consists of keynote speeches by community leaders, including Bro Andrew Muhanmmad, a musical performance by Music4Causes Ft Kimba, contributions by youths of the Westside Young Leaders Academy and Afruika Bantu Saturday School, a performance of the ‘As Long As You’re Of African Heritage, You’re An African’ play about African identity, and stalls, with stall-holders and authors making short presentations throughout the day.

It’s an opportunity for interested parties to work together for the success of this community event. This is ahead of next year’s The African Coalition Day on August 10, which is the Saturday before August 17, the birthday of the prominent pan-African icon Hon. Marcus Garvey, which is widely marked by pan-Africanists across Britain and internationally.

The Abbey Centre at 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU is a walking distance from Methodist Central Hall Westminster, where the African Jubilee Year was launched by the London Strategic Policy Unit on July 31, 1987 with a concert and a speech by Zimbabwean First Lady Sally Mugabe. The event was also the official launch of the African Jubilee Year Declaration, which enjoined the London councils that signed up, to mark “the month of October 1987 and every October thereafter” as Black History Month.

However, long before that, the first Pan-African Conference took place at Westminster Town Hall (now Caxton Hall) from July 23 to 25 1900. Although it was attended by a few dozen delegates, its impact on the British empire and the subsequent pan-Africanism movement was far-reaching.

The Conference, which was attended by the likes of classical music composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and the photographer John Archer, was mainly organised by the Trinidadian-born law student Henry Sylvester Williams. He was the secretary of the Westminster-based African Association (later renamed Pan-African Association).

Archer is now better known as London’s first African mayor – he was elected Battersea mayor in 1913, after having become a councillor in 1906. Interestingly, in 1906, Williams was also elected as a councillor in Westminster.

The Conference attracted delegates from across Britain, Africa, the Caribbean and north America. It is hoped that making the Preview a hybrid event, will similarly attract attendees from far and wide via the Zoom option.

The Preview event is organised by BTWSC/African Histories Revisited for The African Coalition, in association with BBM/BMC (BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress), TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question), Afruika Bantu Saturday School, The Abbey Centre and My Soho Times.

For more information or to book: https://bit.ly/TACDPrev2023.

Click here to watch the ‘As Long As You’re Of African Heritage…’ trailer and here to watch the Music4Causes Ft Kimba Nov 25 2023 The African Coalition Day Preview trailer.